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Diaspora remittance 2015-2018: Positive indication of human capital development


Human capital. PHOTO: LINKEDIN

Diaspora remittance is placing emphasis on the evolution of global market capitalism – the diffusion of knowledge, and investment in training and skills of people. Nigeria is becoming a Human Capital Export Nation and key into increasingly global, technological and services-based nature of the economic interactions because Diaspora remittance flows far exceed gross oil revenue receipts. The 2018 Remittance of Nigerians in the US of $7.2bn is more than the entire $6.7bn earmarked for capital expenditure for 2019.

In Africa, Nigeria has the largest stocks of human resources for health, civil service, education technology, the administration even in production like finance, etc. to achieve a booming diversified, sustainable economy and prosperous Nigeria. The surplus in quantity and quality of human and natural resources, the right knowledge, experience, techniques and vocational skills are capable of leading the nation to an exceptional sustainable economic development advancement to benefit the masses. The paradox is that with such large stocks of human resources which could have been useful for the country, but the migration to foreign countries in the recent years has caused under production and inequitable distribution of workforce.

The breakdown of the migrant remittance for 13 year period showed tremendous increase in the last three years, as it grew by 11.79 percent to $22.001 billion in 2017 from $19.679 billion in 2016, before recording another 14 percent growth in 2018 to the current figure. Human capital is today Nigeria’s largest export and it has dethroned crude oil export. Diaspora remittances which is through human capital has surpasses oil receipts every year since 2015 to become the largest source of dollar inflows to Nigeria. According to data from Central Bank of Nigeria, diaspora remittances first out placed oil revenue in 2015 as $21.2 billion was sent home officially by Nigerians in abroad which surpassed the $19.6 billion oil export proceeds for those twelve months. In 2016 and 2017 Nigerians in abroad sent home $19.7 billion and $22 billion respectively which was higher than the $ 10.4 billion and $13.4 billion garnered from oil exports in the same period. The CBN’s annual economic reports show that in 2018 the total revenue from oil $18 billion while Nigerians in abroad sent home some of $25.1 billion the highest in four years.


Human capital development export today determines the amount of money Nigerians in diaspora can send back home. Nigeria is Africa’s leading economy and most populous nation. It’s also the number one African country for remittances, and is among the top five countries globally for inward flows. World Bank’s Migration and Remittances report issued in April 2018 showed that Nigeria reached $22 billion in 2017, a 10% increase on the $19.64 billion sent in 2016. Remittances were worth 5.6% of GDP in 2017, thus exceeding the $20 billion generated by Nigeria’s oil revenues.

Diaspora remittances exceed gross oil revenue: Nigeria’s 2018 gross revenue was $18.2 billion while Diaspora remittances into the country for the same year stood at $25.1 billion. The recently released “Migration and Development Brief” of the World Bank for 2018 that scored Nigeria as the highest recipient of Diaspora remittances, once again, in sub-Saharan Africa (which stood at $25.1 billion), Nigerians in the Diaspora to the Country as compared with actual export proceeds from Oil and Gas operations has brought to the fore the potential of Nigeria becoming a human capital nation rather than oil and gas. Nigeria earned $25bn in 2018 from Diaspora remittances compared with $18b from gross crude oil and gas sales. It is an unassailable fact, quite frankly! 

Nigeria is currently the 7th most populous country in the World. With an estimated 201million people next to Pakistan – 205million and ahead of Bangdalesh -168million; Nigeria sits comfortably in the comity of top 10 most populous nations competing for abundant yet scarce resources globally. According to Pew Research Centre, immigrants sent a total of $625billion to individuals in their home countries in year 2017. The top 10 most populated countries received $245billion of this sum, approximately 40%. Nigeria ranks 4thon the list with a net inflow of US$21billion ahead of Pakistan – US$19billion and next to Mexico – US$28billion
Diaspora remittance far outweighs capital expenditure: Nigeria’s 2019 capital expenditure budget is $6.7 billion. Since it is no longer news that Nigerians has witnessed the largest capital expenditure for the first time in the country’s budgetary history in the Buhari administration, it means, using the 2018 figure, that one-year Diaspora remittances can be equated to at least four years of Nigeria’s capital expenditures—-and still have some change left.

Diaspora remittances equals 84 percent of the federal government’s budget: Nigeria’s 2018 budget was $29.9 billion while Diaspora remittances stood at $25.1 billion for the same year. The 2018 remittances, which saw a 14 percent, increase from the 2017 figure of $22 billion remittances of Nigerians living abroad was 7 times the size of foreign aids of $3.359 billion to Nigeria. The $25.1 billion remittances in 2018 represented 6.1 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This means that the remittances were 11 times the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which stood at $2.200 billion for the same year. (Price Water house Coopers)

The total amount of inflow from diaspora remittances into Nigeria in 2018 was equal to 84 per cent of the country’s budget last year. While one may never know or be privy to the fundamental reason(s) why Nigerian governments has serially failed to utilize the human and material resources of the Diaspora community that other developed countries of the world had effectively utilized, and continues to do by using them, in most cases, as catalysts for their developmental aspirations, it is important to mention at this juncture some countries that has used the Diaspora communities as their developmental templates as well as making them integral to their growth and development in the research works in my “Roadmap for engaging Diasporas in development: A Policy Direction” with the hope that this would create a clearer picture on the Diaspora issue.

Diaspora remittances by Nigerians in 2018 surpassed earnings from oil and gas last year. Nigerians in diaspora in 2017 had remitted S22 billion, making it the highest in sub-Saharan Africa followed by Senegal and Ghana with $2.2 billion each in the same year. Currently, the country is in the top five nations in global remittances.
•Donald writes from Abuja.


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Human capital development
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